The latest data on existing-home sales were something of a head-scratcher. Things didn't quite move the way we expected.

For one, prices on the national level continued to move higher, and meaningful so. The median price rose 0.5% to $199,500 in October. This latest increase pushed the year-over-year increase to 12.8%. Given the recent data on slowing price appreciation, we were expecting a less robust gain.

Nor were we expecting a continued reduction in existing-home inventory, which fell a third-consecutive month to 2.13 million units. The prospect of slowing price appreciation can motivate people to list their home. More people in positive-equity territory is another motivator. According to Zillow's Negative Equity Report, the national negative equity rate fell to 21% in the third quarter from 31.4% at its peak in the first quarter of 2012.

When asked about the direction of this market – both mortgage and housing – perhaps simply pointing in opposite directions and saying “ it's going that away ” isn't so silly.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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